A virtual desktop environment is a system whereby rather than a user being to access their normal (computer) environment from their PC, it is accessed via the Internet using outside and separate resources. This means that when users work from remotely, their programmes, applications, processes and data will not be held locally (upon their PC) but centrally on servers and storage that might be located anywhere across the globe.
This essentially means that the software is physically separated from the PC (desktop). So, in summary what this means is that in such an environment, what you think you see on your screen is actually located on another server.
Desktop virtualisation allows users to access their desktops on any suitable device, such as their personal computers, smartphones, laptops, or even thin clients.
Who are the key vendors?
There are many. Desktop virtualization software is provided by established vendors such as Microsoft, Citrix and VMware, as well as quite a few start-ups such as Virtual Computer. PC blades and Thin Computing, which are often twinned with virtualization software, are sold by numerous hardware vendors such as HP, IBM, Dell, Wyse, ClearCube and Sun.